How Does an Injury Lawsuit Work in North Carolina?

Learn how injury lawsuit works in North Carolina

One of the first things you need to know is that North Carolina’s statute of limitations will substantially affect the personal injury case timeline. This law allows a three-year period from the date of the accident in which to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you miss this filing deadline, you’ll be unable to pursue compensation in court.

Once you’ve filed an initial lawsuit, what can you expect to happen along your personal injury lawsuit timeline?

What Is an Injury Case?

A personal injury case is a civil matter, a lawsuit filed by an injured party against the person or entity that caused you harm. Many personal injury claims develop out of accidents, such as collisions, getting hit by a car, tripping and falling, or being harmed due to medical malpractice. A personal injury accident differs from an injury-causing mishap in that the situation that caused a personal injury was due to another party’s negligence.

What Makes a Personal Injury Claim?

If someone is harmed because of another’s wrongdoing, they have the right under North Carolina law to file a suit for compensation for their losses, such as medical bills, pain and suffering, or missed wages from work.

Although you aren’t required to have a lawyer to file a personal injury lawsuit, many people choose to have legal representation to guide them through the personal injury lawsuit timeline.

What Are the Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit in North Carolina?

Most personal injury lawsuits take several months to conclude. A case that goes to trial may take more than a year. If the facts don’t clearly favor one side, then there’s a better chance that the case will go to trial. If you have a strong case, however, the other side may be more amendable to a settlement to avoid the time and expense of a trial.

Basics in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Here is a timeline and basics of Injury Lawsuit

  • Hire a personal injury lawyer to handle your case.
  • Your lawyer will investigate the accident to determine who was at fault and who caused the accident.
  • Settlement negotiations may occur before or after a lawsuit is filed.
  • The discovery phase begins after the lawsuit is filed, during which the two sides exchange evidence.
  • Pre-trial motions are filed.
  • A trial before a judge and jury is scheduled.

When you enter settlement negotiations, you have more control over the process than in a trial, where anything can happen. No outcome is ever guaranteed at trial. Be wary of any personal injury lawyer who promises you a victory.

Call us today at 252-333-3333 for a Free Injury Case Review.

The Timeline of a Personal Injury Lawsuit in North Carolina

If your case goes to trial, it may take more than a year from the initial filing to the conclusion of the trial, depending on the court’s caseload. It takes time for attorneys to investigate the case and prepare to argue before a jury. Local North Carolina courts have specific time limits for each phase of the lawsuit process.

Your lawyer can update you as each phase is completed and give you a more accurate timeline as your case progresses.

What Is Included in a Personal Injury Settlement?

A personal injury settlement may include compensation for both economic losses and non-economic losses.

Economic losses are the tangible losses suffered because of an accident. For example, your medical bills for hospital stays, surgery, chiropractor visits, and prescription medications can add up fast. The costs of any treatment you require for injuries suffered in a personal injury accident can be included in a personal injury claim.

If your injuries caused you to miss work, you can demand compensation for the wages you lost while unable to work and the vacation and sick leave you had to use. You may claim compensation for the paid time off you used to recover from your injuries. If you weren’t paid for the time you missed, your lost wages can be included in your compensation.

Some victims of personal injury accidents sustain disabling injuries and are unable to continue in the same job they had before the accident. In those cases, the injured party may ask for money to pay for vocational retraining to find gainful employment in a job they can do in their changed condition.

Personal injury victims also suffer in other, harder-to-quantify ways. Physical pain from injuries, anguish, emotional trauma, PTSD, or situational anxiety from the experience are compensable losses. You’re entitled to claim money for them.

You may have a diminished quality of life because of your injuries. A personal injury settlement can help relieve financial stress and enable you to continue to pursue the dreams and goals you had before the accident.

How Does Settlement Negotiation Work in an Injury Case?

Let’s use the car accident lawsuit process as an example of a personal injury lawsuit timeline since car crashes are one of the most common types of personal injury cases.

  • The first step is to complete your medical care and recover to the fullest extent possible.
  • The next step is for the personal injury lawyer handling your claim to identify who is financially liable and send demand letters to the appropriate insurance companies, detailing the extent of your losses and asking for a specific amount of money.
  • Your attorney will seek to negotiate a settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurer.
  • If the insurance refuses to agree to a reasonable settlement, the next step in the personal injury timeline is filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
  • The trial can proceed in a North Carolina civil court before a judge and jury unless a settlement is reached.

Seek Assistance from Our Personal Injury Attorneys to File Your Injury Lawsuit

You have the right to demand compensation from the person or party that caused the accident that harmed you. An experienced personal injury lawyer with Hardison & Cochran can help you pursue a claim. We will work closely with you and keep you updated during each step along the personal injury lawsuit timeline. We will answer your questions and provide legal advice in your best interests.

Contact our team today at 252-333-3333 for a free consultation.

About the Author

Managing partner Benjamin T. Cochran oversees the operation of Hardison & Cochran Attorneys at Law in addition to representing individual clients in cases involving workers’ compensation and personal injury law.

A lifelong North Carolinian, Cochran knew from his high-school days in High Point that he wanted to be an attorney. He received a B.A. degree in economics and African-American studies from the University of North Carolina in 1999 and then enrolled at the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University.